A Companion to the Works of Thomas Mann by Herbert Lehnert, Eva Wessell

By Herbert Lehnert, Eva Wessell

Thomas Mann is one of the maximum of German prose writers, and was once the 1st German novelist to arrive a large English-speaking readership considering Goethe. Novels akin to Buddenbrooks, The Magic Mountain, and Doktor Faustus attest to his mastery of refined, distanced irony, whereas novellas akin to loss of life in Venice demonstrate him on the peak of his mastery of language. as well as clean insights approximately those best-known works of Mann, this quantity treats less-often-discussed works reminiscent of Joseph and His Brothers, Lotte in Weimar, and Felix Krull, in addition to his political writings and essays. Mann himself used to be a paradox: his function as family-father was once either shelter and façade; his love of Germany was once matched by way of his contempt for its having embraced Hitler. whereas in exile through the Nazi interval, he functioned because the leading consultant of the ''good'' Germany within the struggle opposed to fascism, and he has usually been remembered this fashion in English-speaking lands. yet a brand new view of Mann is rising part a century after his demise: a view of him as one of many nice writers of a modernity understood as extending into our twenty first century. This quantity presents 16 essays via American and eu experts. They exhibit the relevance of his writings for our time, making specific use of the biographical fabric that's now to be had. participants: Ehrhard Bahr, Manfred Dierks, Werner Frizen, Clayton Koelb, Helmut Koopmann, Wolfgang Lederer, Hannelore Mundt, Peter Pütz, Jens Rieckmann, Hans Joachim Sandberg, Egon Schwarz, and Hans Vaget.

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While love is missing in the earlier novel because of a bourgeois ideology that values economics over human relations, it is missing here because of an ideology of creative superiority. In this sense Doktor Faustus, the Nietzsche-novel, also carries a critique of Nietzsche’s vision. The novel leaves it open whether the god who may grant his grace is dead or living. This ambiguity, this openness, is signaled when Leverkühn, in his last sane moments, breaks down on the piano with outstretched arms as if crucified, while seemingly being pushed by the devil (GW 6, 667).

Republicanism” and “democracy” were catchwords in their eyes: they opposed and ridiculed these forms of government because they saw them forced on Germany by the victors. Mann’s support of the republic was widely seen as a move away from the patriotic conservatism that had governed his Betrachtungen. Yet he refused to admit to any such shift. He claimed that he had addressed the relationship between politics and culture in Betrachtungen, and he did so now by exposing the politics of the right.

2 Nietzsche, KSA 3, 480–82. Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (The Gay Science, 1881; Book 5, 1886), 125. 3 See Karl Werner Böhm, Zwischen Selbstzucht und Verlangen: Thomas Mann und das Stigma Homosexualität (Würzburg: Königshausen & Neumann, 1991). Böhm insists on the word “homosexual” because he believes that the desire, and not the consummation, should be the determining factor. His book contributes much to the understanding of Mann’s works by describing the literary effects of Mann’s renunciation of homosexual desire (“Triebverzicht”).

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